Individual and Family

Identifying the Early Signs of Heart Disease

Updated on February 12, 2020


The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only. It should never be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always consult with your medical provider regarding diagnosis or treatment for a health condition.
Although painful, chest-gripping heart attacks are one of the most commonly recognized ailments, they are far from the only signs of heart disease. In fact, the various forms of heart disease account for 40 percent of all deaths in the United States because many people don’t recognize the symptoms or seek help while there is still a chance of survival.
Indications of heart disease can be subtle or obvious, and they vary greatly for each individual. However, there are several early signs of heart disease that may signal serious problems in the near future. And, there are various protective measures you can take for your health and finances, including critical-illness insurance.

Knowing potential risk factors

Some chest symptoms can be blamed on simple heartburn or muscle soreness. However, certain pre-existing conditions can greatly increase the potential for a cardiac issue. Heart disease can strike nearly anyone at any time, but there are a number of risk factors, including
• Being over age 65
• High cholesterol
• High blood pressure
• Obesity
• Smoking
• Diabetes
• Sedentary lifestyle
• Family history of heart disease
The more risk factors a person has, the more likely he or she is to develop a cardiac problem.

Identifying early symptoms

One of the best ways to prevent a dangerous heart episode is to know and pay attention to the potential warning signs, seeking professional help before an extreme heart-related episode occurs.
Considered alone, these symptoms are not definitive signs that a heart problem is occurring; however, they are indications that trouble could be coming.

  • Anxiety – Many heart attack survivors speak about a feeling of anxiety or impending doom prior to their cardiac issues.
  • Chest discomfort – This is still the top symptom associated with heart attacks. However, not everyone experiences chest pain, and chest pain can also be caused by other issues.
  • Cough – Persistent coughing can indicate fluid retention in the lungs, and some people even report bloody phlegm.
  • Dizziness – Potentially dangerous arrhythmias and heart attacks can lead to a lightheaded feeling and even a loss of consciousness.
  • Fatigue – Not a symptom on its own, unusual fatigue can be caused by sub-par heart function, especially in women.
  • Nausea – Abdominal swelling can be associated with a diseased heart, and the resulting midsection pressure can take away the appetite.
  • Body pain – While chest discomfort is the most recognizable sign of a heart attack, a cardiac episode can cause pain in other areas of the body, including the arms, shoulders, back, and abdomen.
  • Pulse changes – A frequently irregular or unusually rapid pulse, when accompanied by other symptoms, can indicate heart failure or a heart attack. Untreated arrhythmias can lead to heart attack or stroke.
  • Shortness of breath – Feeling winded from simple tasks like walking up a single flight of stairs could indicate a pulmonary obstruction or heart failure.
  • Sweating – A sudden, cold sweat often occurs when a person is experiencing a heart attack.
    Swelling – Heart disease or heart failure can cause excess fluid to build up in the body, leading to sudden swelling or weight gain.

 Critical-illness protection

Although there are a number of symptoms and warning signs, heart disease can strike anytime and anywhere. People who believe they may be stricken with a critical illness such as heart disease should consider critical-illness insurance. Critical-illness plans can offer access to more and/or better heart treatments and doctors, and can offer financial protection for you and your family.
As with other insurance plans, you make small monthly premium payments for critical-illness insurance, and if you experience a qualifying illness, your insurance company will make a lump-sum payment to you.

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